Jan 30, 2022

Silas was born last Saturday on January 22nd. We really wanted that 22nd number for a birthday, and we thought it would be easy to get since it was a planned induction. But as the hours ticked by and the progression that normally happens in labor for me did not, we thought we might actually end up with a baby born on the 23rd instead of the 22nd (which, I'll admit, was a hugely disappointing thought for me). However, Silas pulled through and made it happen--in the 22nd hour, no less! 

I will of course be sharing more about the actual details of his birth in a future post. Those are probably my most treasured pieces I've ever written, and I return to them often--on birthdays or before births, as the case may be. They always bring back the sweetest feelings and make me weep. I love my kids so much.

Speaking of tears, there have been a lot of them this week--some from Silas, but mostly from me. I keep telling myself this is normal (because I know it is), but it's still a little unnerving to feel like I have no control. They just turn on with the least provocation, and I think my older kids (and even Mike) have been a little dismayed by their frequency. I just assure them that everything is fine and try to smile even as the tears flow without stopping. 

Some of those tears came because I fell headlong into thinking about Silas' journey through the veil from pre-mortal to mortal life. The first week in all of my boys' lives have been treasured, joyful times for me where heaven has felt so near. And it has been the same with Silas, except that I've also examined it from his (possible) perspective. And when I look at it through his eyes, earth looks kind of harsh and cold and painful. I have cried as I've considered what an adjustment this must be for him.

We're all over here totally smitten by him, our hearts almost bursting because of the increase in love (Maxwell said, "I just want to hug him so tightly, it scares me"), and little Silas is trying to figure out why there are little hands all over his head (Ian's) and why the car seat always leads to pain (first a circumcision, then multiple bilirubin checks) and why there was not enough milk at first and now there's too much and why a diaper change is so darn cold. 

I think his first few minutes of life are haunting me. I felt such a rush of joy; I couldn't stop beaming and smiling. Silas, on the other hand, whimpered and repeatedly stuck out his bottom lip in a gesture of confusion and grief. There was no joy on his countenance. 

One of my favorite essays on birth is called "Two Veils." In it, Heather Farrell discusses the first veil into mortality (birth) and the second veil into immortality (death). She says that women have stewardship over this first veil: "The only gateway into this mortal world is through the strait and narrow way of a woman's body and the shedding of her blood. There is no other way." 

She also paints a picture of the time leading up to birth: "If we could only glimpse into the premortal world and see the other side of the veil, might we see a world that is very female centered because the focus is on preparing children to go through the first veil?" Whether this is true or not, I pondered this scene a lot in the weeks leading up to Silas' birth. I thought about who might be on the other side helping him to get ready to join our family. 

I remember reading another description of birth and death that really resonated with me, which was that these two transitions are often like an hourglass where the sand gradually shifts from one realm to the other rather than a single, sudden event (although it can certainly happen that way). Death is one of those things that we dread when we are here on earth but which must be so incredibly joyful for the person when it actually happens. I actually think birth might be the opposite: it is perhaps one of the things that we joyfully anticipate on the other side, knowing that it is a key part of the plan of salvation, but once we actually cross the line, might we not want to turn right around and go back? 

I kind of think that might be what Silas was thinking as his bottom lip trembled while the nurses forcefully suctioned out his mouth and nose: This is not what I thought earth would be like . . . 

But we are doing our very best to smooth out earth's rough patches and show him there's actually a lot to love about being here:

There are brothers who have to take a peek at him before school and who argue for holding rights when they get home. There are cooing words, soft kisses, gentle pats on the back, sweet caresses, nuzzles, and snuggles.  There are secure swaddles and warm milk and a plethora of smiling faces to slowly examine. There is an abundance of love that saturates the air and follows him around no matter which room he is in. 

As he has become more alert, his bottom lip no longer quivers and his eyes have an undeniable spark. Sometimes he looks at us, and there is just a hint of a smile, almost like he is saying, "I've given you all a chance, and you're not so bad after all."

Welcome to the world, sweet Silas. 


  1. Congratulations! And welcome to the world, Silas!

  2. Ah, to hold a newborn! Congratulations, Amy!

  3. Beautifully written! What a precious time! 👼❤️

  4. I love this post! A 22 Johnson! Born in the 22nd hour of the 22nd day of the 22nd year! How perfect!

    I always love the looks of wonder in the eyes of children as they hold a newborn sibling for the first time. You can really see that in Clark's eyes. I absolutely love the picture of Max holding Silas. So cuddly.

    Thanks for your example of perseverance, Amy. Wishing you the best with your recovery. Take it easy and let everyone else take care of you!

  5. Hooray, hooray! So glad he's here. What a sweetheart. Those first days are so precious.


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